Following Creflo Dollar’s arrest earlier this month on charges that he’d assaulted his daughter, the embattled pastor addressed his congregation and publicly refuted his child’s claims. Stacey Patton writes in the Washington Post that disciplining children with physical punishment should not be something that the NAACP should condone or sweep under the rug.
This debate — over whether Dollar was appropriately disciplining his daughter or abusing her, and whether physical violence is needed to rear a child properly — is an old one in the black community. The fact that this debate is still happening shows what little progress black Americans have made in peacefully teaching their children right from wrong. For some, beating children is a legacy of having been abused for centuries by a racist society …
The NAACP’s reason for being is to advocate for civil rights, making it problematic for the organization to side with a black father, or any father, accused of choking and slapping his daughter. It is especially pernicious in a culture in which, during the Jim Crow era, black parents beat their children to try to enforce lessons about racial etiquette. As historian Leon Litwack has noted, black parents knew that if these lessons weren’t learned, their children could be assaulted or lynched by white people. Vestiges of this tradition endure, as has become obvious in my conversations with black parents who think that discipline must be physically forceful to be effective, a sentiment that is echoed in the NAACP statements.
Read Stacey Patton’s entire column at the Washington Post.
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